Afridi taking his bowling for granted

Karachi: Pakistan’s former leg-spinner and chief selector Abdul Qadir has criticised one-day captain Shahid Afridi for taking his bowling for “granted”.

Afridi, who in his last 18 ODI appearances managed a 19 wickets at an unimpressive average of 45.05, is presently in New Zealand with the Twenty20 squad and is also expected to lead the national side in the 2011 World Cup.

Qadir said it was time for Afridi to have a look at his bowling as it was an important for Pakistan that the all-rounder did well with both bat and ball before and during the World Cup.

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“I taught him how to bowl a googly last year in a way that complements his characteristic bowling action and gave him tips on field placements and on bowling certain lines and lengths in order to outwit the batsmen. I also advised him to envisage he was playing a Test match rather than another limited overs game,” Qadir recalled in an interview with a Pakistani website.

The tips appeared to have benefitted Afridi who went on to achieve career best figures of 6/38 in a ODI against Australia in 2009 in the UAE.

He finished as the leading wicket taker of that series. Afridi continued following Qadir’s guidelines thereafter, as was evident from his performance in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009, where he finished with 11 wickets at an impressive average of 13.54.

But in 2010, Qadir feels Afridi had forgotten his advice.

And the leg-spinner was also not impressed by some comments made by Afridi last year during the series against Australia.

Afridi, while playing down the role Qadir played in his bowling form turnround, had said that he has learnt and improved simply by watching old videos of himself.

“Although I firmly believe that a student should always acknowledge his teacher, I do not feel greatly offended by Afridi’s antics because in my view, my advice to him would eventually benefit my country.

“I always knew Shahid’s form would not last long. Experience has taught me that leg-spin is a tough art and one can never afford to rest on one’s laurels. Unfortunately, it appears as though Afridi is once again taking his bowling for granted and has totally forgotten the tips I gave him”, said Qadir.

“I have always maintained that Shahid is a very special cricketer and hence, should never be left out from the team. I have always backed him tremendously. I was also very vocal on television when he was dropped from the side some time ago,” he added.